Birth Control/Contraception

Birth Control

Birth control puts you in control.  You have many options.  Birth control is not just "the pill."  Many birth control methods can also be used to reduce the amount that you bleed with your period every month and also to reduce the pain with your period.  Some women use birth control pills to control their migraine headaches.

We invite you to come in and talk about what you want and what will work for you.

Birth Control Pills are one of the most popular types of contraception. Most girls and women take birth control pills with little to no side effects.  In addition to preventing pregnancy, benefits include predictable and often lighter periods.  Mittelschmerz, or pain with ovulation, is stopped because "the pill" suppresses ovulation.  Ovarian cysts may be prevented.  Menstrual migraines are often controlled by taking "the pill" continuously.  Acne often improves on "the pill."

Birth control pills do not prevent sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, HPV, HIV, syphillis or gonorrhea.

Most side effects, such as a mild headache, mild nausea or bloating (feeling like you are full of water) and irregular bleeding, usually go away after the first month or two.

Some side effects require immediate medical attention. Difficulty breathing or swelling in one leg more than the other can be a sign of a blood clot and you should call 911 or go to a hospital right away. High blood pressure, jaundice (yellow skin or yellow eyes) can be a sign of liver damage and you should see a doctor.  Smoking cigarettes increases your risk of a complication from birth control pills.

Less severe side effects may include acne, breakthrough bleeding, breast tenderness, depression, diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, headache, lethargy, nausea, oily skin, skin color changes, vaginal yeast infection and changes in the menstrual cycle.  More often, birth control pills help control acne.

Birth control pills are less effective (have  higher pregnancy rates) in women who weigh over 165 pounds.

If you have ever had a blood clot in your legs, or lung, you may not be a candidate for birth control pills.  Find out if anyone in your family has had a blood clot and let your gynecologist or women's health nurse practitioner know.

Condoms

We highly recommend using condoms when having sex.  They are relatively inexpensive and easy to obtain.  You do not need a prescription to buy condoms. They need to be stored carefully, not in a pocket and not in a glove compartment.  

Only condoms (and abstinence)  can prevent sexually transmitted diseases, and even then, condoms are not perfect.  Latex condoms are the best for preventing disease.  Nitrile condoms can be used by people with a latex allergy.

Condoms should be used with additional spermicide.  Never use petroleum jelly with condoms.

The primary problem with condoms for preventing pregnancy is that people don't use them.

If you are unsure how to use a condom, we recommend that you buy a banana and practice putting a condom on the banana. 

Condoms are inexpensive, easily available and easy to use.

Diaphragm

A diaphragm is a cap that covers the cervix during intercourse.  Our providers will be happy to discuss a diaphragm with you and fit you for one if you decide that it what you would like to do.  Diaphragms can only be obtained with a prescription and needed to be individually fitted.  

The diaphragm is placed inside the vagina, in front of the cervix prior to intercourse.  It should remain inside for 8 hours after intercourse.  Spermicide appropriate for a diaphragm must be used with the diaphragm.  

IUD/LARC

IUD stands for intrauterine device and LARC stands for long acting reversible contraceptive.

IUD's are great because once your IUD is inserted, you don't have to worry about contraception for 3 to 10 years, depending on which IUD you choose.  With an IUD, you are still ovulating, so you still make your own "natural" hormones.

There are several types of IUD's, or intrauterine devices.  IUD's come with or without hormones.  IUD's with hormones have the hormone progesterone.  There is only a tiny amount of progesterone from the IUD that gets into your blood.  The progesterone acts locally within the uterus to prevent your uterine lining from building up.  This gives most women with progesterone IUD's very light to no periods.  When you first get your IUD, expect to have several months of irregular bleeding.  Once this stops, you should have very light to no periods. 

Any IUD can be used while breast feeding. We recommend waiting for 6 weeks after childbirth to get an IUD placed.

Advantages of an IUD are that they last for several years and you do not need to think about contraception from the time it is inserted until it is removed.  You can have one IUD removed and another placed at the same visit.

A disadvantage is that placement of  IUD can be uncomfortable to painful.  We have several tricks to make your IUD insertion more comfortable.  We have our patients take a pill the night before to help open the cervix.  We also advise all of our patients getting an IUD to take an NSAID such as ibuprofen before heading to our office to have the IUD placed.  For women who can not take NSAIDs, we recommend Tylenol or whatever medication they take for menstrual cramps.

An IUD can make a newly acquired STD worse.  If you have an IUD and think you may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease, please see us immediately.

Even if you have an IUD, with any new partner, you should use condoms to protect yourself from diseases like HIV, chlamydia, syphillis and gonorrhea.

 

Natural Family Planning

Natural Family Planning refers to avoiding sexual intercourse when you are ovulating and for several days before and several days after.  Using ovulation predictor kits can be very helpful to determine when in your cycle you ovulate.  Apps can not tell when you ovulate.  

Nexplanon

Nexplanon is a rod that is placed in the arm and releases progesterone to prevent ovulation.  The Nexplanon lasts for 3 years and has the advantage that you do not have to think about contraception from the time it is placed until it expires.  A disadvantage is that many women have irregular bleeding.  It does not protect you against STD's.  The Nexplanon suppresses your ovaries from making estrogen without any replacement.  

Patch

The makers of "the patch" have stopped making it, so please come in to discuss other options with one of our providers.

 

 

 

 

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Location

(470) 312-3696
3200 Downwood Circle Suite 220 Atlanta, GA 30327